The other day as my wife and I were getting ready for work, she asked me to get her clothes out of the dryer for her. We were both getting ready, but I stopped what I was doing and did it. The simplest gestures can be the most powerful, especially when both husband and wife are working.
Do something simple every day to make life easier for one another. Bring him a cool beverage. Watch something that she wants to watch…with her. Iron his clothes for him. Go shopping with her.
These four gestures can make your marriage better. Nothing deep or romantic here, but doing it will make romance come easier.
HELP EACH OTHER OFTEN…
DO WHAT COMES EASY…
HONESTLY WORK ON WHAT’S DIFFICULT FOR YOU…
BE PATIENT WITH WHAT’S DIFFICULT FOR ONE ANOTHER…
Following these simple tips will make each day better, and difficult days more bearable.
We have all done this. The one and only interaction that you had with someone was a bad one. You left a bad impression. Someone caught you on your worst behavior. Someone caught you on your worst day. Someone caught you in the heat of your anger and frustration. You were rude. You were mean. You were short. You were arrogant. You were proud. You were jealous. You were horny. You were apathetic. You were unholy. You were in your flesh.
It was the one and only time he, she or they interacted with you on a personal level, and you were at your worst behavior.
You were out of your character, but they didn’t know that. It was a lapse in your character, but they were left thinking…that’s just how you are.
Even though we are commanded to love one another, you gave them a good reason to not…
How many times have you said this, “I’m bored!”? How many times have you heard your kids say, “There’s nothing to do!”?
We live in a society with so many opportunities for entertainment and engagement that we can find ourselves in ‘paralysis by analysis’.
We expect our jobs to be entertaining. Our education to be entertaining, and even our worship to be entertaining.
Now, don’t get me a wrong. I’m by no means condemning being entertained. But, we do need to manage our expectations.
People also love ‘being busy’. We value hard work to the point that some people consider you a slacker if you ONLY want to work ‘9 to 5’…no over time. Since when did doing a hard days work and going home at a decent time become lazy?
Well, I’m saying all that to say this…
The older I get, the more I appreciate moments of having…
INFIDELITY…It’s the universal act of betrayal that many, if not most, find it difficult to come back from.
No matter what country, religion or culture, infidelity marks the end of many relationships. It’s viewed as the ultimate proof that love is lost.
However, the ability to come back from infidelity may be the ultimate proof of real love.
How can I say that?
Because marriage is the analogy that God uses throughout the bible, not only to describe His relationship with Israel in Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Joel, Isaiah and Hosea, but also Christ’s (who represents the invisible God bodily) relationship with His church in Colossians, Ephesians and Revelations. All of the aforementioned, Old Testament books are stories of Israel continually betraying God, only to have Him continually forgive them and take them back.
Israel loved God… but they continued to choose other God’s over Him.
God uses imperfect people to carry out His perfect will. That being said, we know that the church is made up of those imperfect people. It’s unavoidable that the church has historically made some mistakes. What’s important is that we continue to learn from those mistakes…and change.
I feel that one of the most damaging mistakes that’s been made in many churches is about GIVING. I’m not talking about HOW MUCH. I’m talking about WHY?
Too many people have been taught to GIVE SELFISHLY. Too many people have been taught and are being taught to approach God and give carnally. The ‘prosperity’ movement has reduced giving to a selfless act, based on our culture of greed, as a ‘tool’ to get what you want out of life from God. This allows the idolatry (Colossians 3:5) of worshiping oneself to pervert faith. They believe God can do it, but the motivation…
The rich young ruler in the books of Matthew 19 and Mark 10 told Jesus that he kept all of the commandments from his youth up, but the Lord quickly reminded him that he was lacking something.
That’s true for all of us. No matter how much we may try to live upright, we will always remain lacking in some area.
You may not be a fornicator, an adulterer, a drunk, a murderer…you may go to church every time the doors open. You may be very generous in your giving …
BUT DO YOU COMPLAIN?
God HATES complaining. He doesn’t hate complainers, but He does hate it when we complain. One of Israel’s greatest, most consistent sins while in the wilderness was that of complaining and murmuring. In fact, it was their complaining that made an 11-day trip last 40 years.
God hates complaining so much he allowed His own children to suffer death to serve as an example of the level of judgment that complaining deserves…
1 Corinthians 10:10 (NKJV)
10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
But, don’t we have a right to complain sometimes? Especially when some things are beyond our control? Why does God hate complaining so much?
HERE ARE 7 REASONS WHY GOD HATES COMPLAINING SO MUCH…
1.COMPLAINING IS THE OPPOSITE OF THANKSGIVING
It doesn’t get more clear than this…
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)
18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Plain and simple…God expects us to be thankful and content in all things (Philippians 4:11-13). There is not one situation when one is complaining that they could not instead find a reason to give thanks or praise. In all of the Psalms where the psalmist was questioning God about troubles did the Psalm not end with praise and thanks giving. (Psalm 6, Psalm 13, Psalm 35, Psalm 94 are just a few). There is a difference in a humble lamentation and an arrogant complaint.
2. COMPLAINING POISONS YOUR ATTITUDE
If we’re honest with ourselves, complaining never makes us feel better. To the contrary if we’re angry it makes us more angry. If we’re frustrated it makes us more frustrated, if we’re discontent it makes us more discontent. Whatever our negative attitude, complaining just makes it more negative. Most of the time we even wear it on our expressions. We look angry and unsatisfied. It takes us from beyond a bad mood to a bad attitude. When we have a bad attitude long enough, it becomes our character…more on that in a moment.
3. COMPLAINING INFECTS THE ATTITUDES OF OTHERS
How many times have you felt perfectly fine and content about something or someone until someone complained? Complaining is contagious. When we share our negative discontent it can have the same negative affect on someone else’s attitude as well, especially if they are spiritually or emotionally weak.
When we spread discontent, animosity or just a negative attitude we become a stumbling block, and we must always remember that is something that the Lord hates too…
Matthew 18:6 (NKJV)
6 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
4. COMPLAINING IMPLIES WE DON’T TRUST GOD
This is huge! God had led Israel and promised them ‘a land flowing with mild and honey’. However, when things got tough, they continually complained and lamented that they wished they had never left Egypt.
Exodus 14:12 (NKJV)
12 Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.”
Exodus 16:3 (NKJV)
3 And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
Complaining in difficult circumstances said to God then and still does today, that we don’t trust Him. Remember that through everything that Job went through did he never BLAME God of charge Him foolishly (Job 1:22).
Even if our circumstances are beyond our control, we must remember that God is sovereign to do what He pleases with His creation for however it suits His divine purpose, and we must trust Him in that.
5. GOD TAKES IT PERSONAL WHEN WE COMPLAIN AGAINST HIS ANOINTED
It’s God’s prerogative to choose whom He pleases to lead His people. Even though these leaders are mere men and women, He still expects us to submit to them. Notice God’s level of anger when the people murmured against Moses and Aaron…
41 On the next day all the congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, saying, “You have killed the people of the Lord.” 42 Now it happened,when the congregation had gathered against Moses and Aaron, that they turned toward the tabernacle of meeting; and suddenly the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord appeared. 43 Then Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of meeting. 44 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 45 “Get away from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” And they fell on their faces. 46 So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a censer and put fire in it from the altar, put incense on it, and take it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them; for wrath has gone out from the Lord. The plague has begun.” 47 Then Aaron took it as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the assembly; and already the plague had begun among the people. So he put in the incense and made atonement for the people.
We must be very careful of what we say about a man or woman of God, even when they make a mistake or have a human moment. Notice that God did not tell David that he could no longer be king even after he slept with Uriah’s wife and then had him killed (2 Samuel 12). David suffered the consequences, but that did not disqualify his anointing.
6. COMPLAINING SHIFTS RESPONSIBILITY FROM OURSELVES
When I’m honest with myself. Much of what I complain about is the consequences of my own mistakes and actions. Yes, there are things that happen beyond our control. Misfortunes, storms, sicknesses etc. But, many times we will find ourselves complaining about relationships, jobs, purchases, situations and circumstances that either we prayed for or God gave us to benefit us.
As early as in the garden of Eden, rather than accept his responsibility for choosing to eat the fruit himself, Adam blamed his wife…
Genesis 3:12 (NKJV)
12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.
7. COMPLAINING LEAVES A BAD TESTIMONY
As I mentioned earlier, when we express our dissatisfaction through complaining, and a negative mood and attitude, it can become our character. This is very important…
God expects us to set the standard of how to handle difficult circumstances.
When we react with negativity we have allowed that to become our testimony in that situation. When we allow our complaints to become go beyond moods to attitudes, we can allow that to become or come across as our character, especially in the limited context of other people’s exposure to us, or what they hear about us. Our character or perceived character can become our testimony.
Once we have mishandled a negative situation, our reputation may never recover. We don’t want that to become our testimony.
So, what to you do when you have a legitimate ‘complaint’?
Remember this. It’s not necessarily the fact that you disagree that makes it a complaint. It’s the fact that you disagree negatively. That you express your discontent or lament in a spirit of HUMILITY AND POSITIVITY.
There’s a difference in negative discontent and positive discontent.
Pray to God for the wisdom to handle your negative circumstances with grace and in a positive manner, and don’t get caught up in the sometimes overlooked sin of complaining.
One of the most heartbreaking things is to have the adult children that you raised, love, nurtured and sacrificed not to appreciate you…resent you…avoid you…or even rebel against you.
It could be for any number of reasons:
Mistakes you’ve made in raising them (we’ve all made them)…
They have a step-parent that was able to do more for them than you…
The inability to provide some of the things they wanted…
When they feel you have favored siblings over them…
They blame you for their problems or issues…
Your best just wasn’t good enough for them…
Resenting you for disciplining them…
Comparing you to other parents…
You know the reason(s), or you may not know.
It may be your fault, or it may not be your fault.
King David’s son Absalom wanted to kill his father because he wanted his throne (2 Samuel 15), but David never stopped loving his son and mourned greatly for him when he was killed (2 Samuel 18). This rebellion was a part of the consequences of David’s sin (2 Samuel 12:10), but it still didn’t lessen his love for his son.
How do you deal with the pain of having a child you love so dearly resent you, when there’s nothing you can say or do to change their heart?
How do you have peace?
The answers are really quite simple:
Apologize for any mistakes that you’ve made, then it’s between them and God…
Forgive yourself for your mistakes…
Learn to be at peace when you know that you’ve done your best…
You have to focus on the days when they DID appreciate you. Think back on the days when they were infants…toddlers…small children…the days when they couldn’t get enough of you. Look back on the pictures or videos of those days. Go get that old toy or outfit you may have kept…meditate on those wonderful memories. Those days then were just as real as the present.
Unfortunately, there are some children, adult children, who never come around. David never had his love for Absalom reciprocated after his heart turned against his father. David had to look back on the good memories with his son to sustain him.
That’s one of the reasons God gives us memories…sometimes that’s what we need to sustain us in a troubled present and in situations where there is realistically ‘no hope’ to change the situation (such as after Absalom died).
If you have a child that doesn’t appreciate you…resents you, or even says that they hate you…
Pray for them,
Pray for God to restore your relationship,
Let them know that you are always there for them,
And, hold in your heart the good times to sustain you…because sometimes that’s all you can do.
Remember that God has children that don’t appreciate Him too.